Climate Change Adaptation

Student with butterfly

An overwhelming amount of evidence shows that the earth’s climate is warming. This means that communities everywhere need to grabble with changing conditions, and they need guidance about how to adjust so that we can preserve human life, ecosystems, and economic values. To provide this guidance, research on so-called “climate change adaption” is crucial and timely. While the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to slow and stop climatic warming, our program focuses on identifying the need for and the methods of adapting to a warming world.

The Adaptation Program enables adaptation decision-making by managers, governments, and private parties through its work on climate change risk assessment, development and testing of adaptation strategies, and information delivery.


For example, several ECI researchers are using the greater Chicago area as a test bed for adaptation in the built and natural environments of cities. ECI scientists also manage an online community, called the Collaboratory for Adaptation to Climate Change that enables, researchers, students, and managers to analyze and discuss adaptation planning and strategies. And ECI staff, via ND-GAIN produce an annual index of country-level exposure to climate change and the capacity for adaptation, including the sectors of global health, agriculture, ecosystems, water, and infrastructure. Numerous partners collaborate with ECI researchers on these and other projects, including government and university scientists, non-governmental organizations, and private corporations.





Graduate students are welcome to join the research program through the laboratories of ECI-affiliated faculty.

Faculty Investigators

Research Staff


See current employment opportunities within Climate Change Adaptation.



The Absence of Political Scientists on the Frontlines of Adapting to Climate Change

July 08, 2014 • Author: Debra Javeline • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation and Transportation Networks, Climate Change, and the Spread of Invasive Species

Bridging the Climate Adaptation Gap: From Recognition to Action

May 08, 2014 • Author: Joyce Coffee • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation


Joyce Coffee, Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index Managing Director, opens last year’s ND-GAIN Annual Meeting.

Recent data indicate that a gap exists between corporations understanding the big-picture risks of climate change and their actions to address those risks to shore up their bottom line.

Supply Chains in the Face of a Changing Climate

April 30, 2014 • Author: Joyce Coffee • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation

The economic damages from weather-related disasters continue to climb worldwide, and will continue on that path. Proactively, organizations are making strides to anticipate and prepare for these climatic shifts.

Early April, Unilever CEO Paul Polman made a public statement calling for “decisive action to tackle climate change in order to secure the future of businesses and people around the world for years to come.” Unilever’s own response is a leading example of companywide sustainability plans, and includes a goal ofsourcing 100 percent

Climate change a growing concern for companies expanding their footprint

April 28, 2014 • Author: Joyce Coffee • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation

Nitesh Chawla receives 2014 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Community-Based Research Award

April 03, 2014 • Author: John Guimond, Notre Dame News • Categories: Climate Change Adaptation



Nitesh Chawla, Frank Freimann Collegiate Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications (iCeNSA) at the University of Notre Dame, is the recipient of the 2014 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Faculty Community-Based Research Award, which is given annually by the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns.


The award, in the amount of $5,000, honors a Notre Dame faculty member whose research has made a contribution in collaboration with local community organizations. Chawla’s passion since arriving at Notre Dame in 2007 has been leveraging big data for the common good. His research in network and data science in personalized health and wellness is translating into solutions for real problems within the community.

Chawla, who refers to himself as a dataologist, said that Americans’ health and wellness would improve if more attention were paid to the circumstances of people’s daily lives, such as access to grocery stores, recreational facilities and schools, in addition to whether they smoke or have allergies. In partnership with their doctors, people could then identify trends between their personal habits and certain diseases. Chawla said that tracking personal data on a large scale — big data — can help move people from insufficient health care to abundant health. “The health and wellness problem,” he said, is actually “outside of the setting of health care.”

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